St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days saddling up for another action-packed weekend at Muswellbrook

'Magnificent' animals a crowd favourite

POWER, strength and a sense of pure willpower will be on show later this month as the St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days returns for another year.

The annual event is one of Muswellbrook's most popular, with thousands attending every 12 months to witness the majestic abilities of the horses on display.

Held over the weekend of May 18 and 19 at St Heliers exhibition ground and beginning at 8.30am, they are expecting approximately 2500 people, according to the organising committee's vice-president John Sercombe, who also gave an insight into why he believes it's so well-loved.

"I think primarily it's because the old folks get to reminisce about what they used to do and their grandparents used to do; and they can see these horses up close for the first time in years and it really strikes a chord with them," he said.

"The young people love them because they're just so big and due to the way the Field Days are structured.

"They can also get really up close to the horses and witness first-hand how big they are."

There will be plenty of action over the weekend, with a multitude of events taking place to entertain the crowds.

Led horses will kick off the first day, followed by a grand parade at lunch time which includes horse-drawn vehicles and farm implements, then ploughing in the afternoon which is always a fan favourite.

Mr Sercombe assured there would be plenty of fun competitions and sights as well, such as the pumpkin snatch, hay carting, log snigging and obstacle courses.

On Saturday night, May 18, an auction, campfire, bush poetry and dinner will add to the atmosphere, too.

President Lindsay Vonbun is relatively new to the role, but said the tradition goes back to 1996, and even he is still stunned by the animals he works with on a day-to-day basis.

"I never cease being astounded by the strength of them and just their docile nature, their temperament," he explained.

"That's what they're bred for and I think a lot of people can appreciate them just as much as we do."

Both men wanted to take time to thank the volunteers who help put the event together, such as secretary Kylie Sercombe and St Heliers farm manager Dale Riley, and said it couldn't go on without their hard work.

Attendance is very cheap, with entry costing just $5 per person, $2.50 for pensioners and free for children under 16 years of age.